So far, just about every cop we know of who was embroiled in a police killing was either racist, poorly trained, or a combination of both. In the vast majority of cases, it turned out suspects were unarmed and the confrontations were instigated and escalated by the officer. To a voice, they all use the same excuse: their life was under threat from the suspect.
Since the vast majority of law enforcement pundits defend these police killings with a straight-face, some even urging famous columnists to stop paying attention to American history, let’s examine how else these threats could be dealt with in a tense situation, first:
Is using lethal force as a first and only option the only choice available to officers who find themselves in a situation that may or may not prove to justify a killing?
The answer is that it shouldn’t be, for a number of reasons:
1. Ethically, officers are bound to preserve life, not extinguish it first, and their codes of conduct are very specific as to when firing on an assailant is an option. That is why the pretext we hear is always the same one.
2. Threats are a matter of perception. Perception is colored by a lot of factors that the brain processes in real time. How has police training honed needed skills? How has academy training amplified or honed the wrong instincts?
3. Physical fitness is a factor in what determines an officer’s level of confidence and how he or she will decide to respond to a situation.
4. The types and quantity of training received. If the way officers respond to situations depends on their response toolkit, then we must examine what is in it and which tools were taught as first-use, go-to tools.
Whether the perceived threat is real or not, and the reason valid or not, in an altercation, shooting to kill as a first line of defense is unacceptable. Officers should, first and foremost, work to defuse the situation they find themselves in, and delay action while calling for backup. If physicality cannot be avoided, shooting to kill should still not be the first go-to tool used.
An officer, male or female, who is physically fit and well trained should have the self-confidence to use self-defense skills to subdue a suspect who may or may not be armed with a firearm or other weapon. You might ask how safe it is for anyone, even a black-belt, to handle someone with a loaded weapon. You might say that we can’t expect officers to be Bruce Lees or Chuck Norrises. The thing, though, is that it is exactly what we should expect!
Millions of parents spend thousands of dollars on martial arts training over their kids’ childhoods and teen years. Police departments have martial arts experts on board. There are dojos all across the nation in just about every neighborhood, wealthy or poor. Martial arts are good for a variety of reasons. But that kind of training is time-intensive and must be maintained regularly. Target shooting is quicker, cheaper and far less intensive. Shooting to kill is immoral. Instituting appropriate training regimens and making available facilities and instructors is a must!
Police forces around the world use martial arts and suspects are rarely killed in an encounter. Here are some examples of police training overseas:
The video above appears to have been compiled in Sherman Oaks, California.
The video above is from Italy.
This Russian training DVD video methodically stresses physiology, psychology and anatomy.
Training videos by Krav Maga, Edinburgh, Scotland.
So, as you can see, not only is it possible and reasonable to expect that officers will defuse potentially dangerous situations using techniques ranging from talking to manually disarming a suspects and almost never using a gun, that is how it works everywhere but the United States!
And… for watching all of these videos, your reward: